REPORTS from adults concerned about child abuse have increased by almost a fifth during the coronavirus lockdown, the NSPCC has said.
Its helpline received 2,216 calls about children facing neglect, physical and emotional abuse in the first four weeks of the lockdown.
This compares with 1,867 calls made in the four weeks prior.
Lockdown measures are likely to be “intensifying abuse and increasing the impact it has on children who can’t escape it”, the child protection charity said.
In particular, concerns around children receiving emotional abuse such as threats and verbal abuse have increased by 50%, with 792 made up to April 19.
They now make up a fifth of calls since the lockdown began.
And calls about suspected neglect are up 4%, with a 9% rise for suspected physical abuse.
NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: “Children are the hidden victims of coronavirus and for young people stuck in unsafe homes during lockdown the abuse can be relentless, with little opportunity of respite or escape.
“The frontline of child protection is no longer the school, it’s in our communities. Just like we come together to look out for older and vulnerable neighbours, we need to make sure children are safe and well in these exceptional times.
“Our helpline can act as a lifeline for a child struggling behind closed doors and the public can get in touch with any concerns so our professionals can provide advice or take action if a young person is at risk.”
Anyone who is concerned about a child’s well-being can contact the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.